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How should you treat the insurance of expensive smartphones? Should you just tag it on to an existing comprehensive policy? Or should you buy separate cover? Beware, as not all prepay phones qualify for cover from phone companies.

BY VAL LEVESON

Smartphones have become a necessity for many exporters who want constant access to their emails, but losing or breaking them can be expensive.

Vodafone and Telecom sell insurance policies that cover mobile phones, with Vodafone excluding the iPhone, but are they good value? What about the option of adding it to your existing comprehensive insurance?

Lesley Sher of The Insurance Brokers says: “iPhones and other smartphones can cost over $1000 to replace. It makes sense to insure and pay a small excess on claiming.

“I would suggest adding it on to your contents insurance. Usually it does not have to be listed as a specified item, depending on the insurer.”

The excess for a claim would be upwards of $150, depending on insurer and whether you have opted for a voluntary higher excess.

She says overseas coverage depends on the policy.

“However, I would always recommend taking out a travel insurance policy and advising that you are taking an iPhone or smartphone. “ martphones have become a necessity for many exporters who want constant access to their emails, but losing or breaking them can be expensive.

BACKING UP YOUR DATA

Sher also advises daily synchronising of any mobile device with a computer so if the handset is lost or broken there is a copy of the data.

Vodafone spokesperson Michelle Baguley says the company’s PhoneInsure policy provides immediate barring of calls from a lost or stolen phone, and a claim can be processed at the same time.

iPhones are excluded because they come with a limited one-year hardware repair warranty and customers can buy additional coverage through an Applecare Protection Plan from Apple.

However, Vodafone is reviewing its phone policies and hopes “to have something covering the iPhone 4 and all smartphones shortly”, Baguley says.

She says PhoneInsure costs $9.95 excluding GST a month. “If your mobile would cost more than $300 to replace PhoneInsure would be good for you. Remember, you’ll have to pay the full retail value of a replacement mobile, even if your mobile was free or subsidised as part of your term contract.

“For example, two years of PhoneInsure premiums will cost $238.80 excluding GST. So if your mobile is lost or stolen within those two years you’ll be better off.”

She says that because premiums are at a flat rate of $9.95, PhoneInsure becomes better value if the replacement cost of your mobile is high.

But there is an excess on claims of $125 for the first claim made within a 12-month period, $175 for a second claim and $250 for any subsequent claims in the period.

She points out that if a phone is covered by a home contents policy, a claim could jeopardise the policyholder’s no-claims bonus.

For more details on the Vodafone deal, go to www.vodafone.co.nz/ services/phoneinsure.jsp

WHAT’S COVERED

Telecom spokesperson Stephanie Furgusson says its policy covers phone and charger, but not any accessories that were not in the original box. Cover is for:

  • Accidental damage (including repairs or replacement, depending on severity)
  • Accidental loss (worldwide)
  • Theft (worldwide)
  • Up to $1000 of unauthorised voice or data calls made in New Zealand after the device has been lost or stolen
  • Cost of hiring a temporary mobile device if the mobile device is lost or stolen while overseas, up to the value of $500 (all receipts must be kept to claim on this benefit).

For premiums, policy and excess information, see www.telecom.co.nz/ mobileinsurance

A representative of Apex General says most good contents policies automatically cover phones. The type of cover depends on who the insurer is.

Some examples are:

  • NZI covers phones for replacement less the standard policy excess of $250.
  • Vero limits cellphone cover to $1000 and has a $150 standard excess.
  • Vero also has a Misuse of Mobile/ Cellular phone extension which covers unauthorised use up to $500 in the 24 hours following a phone being lost or stolen — provided the network is immediately informed of the loss.

“If your contents policy doesn’t provide the cover needed to replace the phone then, yes, look at the individual phone covers through the network providers,” Apex advises. [END]

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